“Fortune, in our secular world, is rated by the amount of money in one’s bank account and the value of any accumulated worldly possessions. However, Jesus teaches another definition when it comes to wealth.”
Fortune, in our secular world, is rated by the amount of money in one’s bank account and the value of any accumulated worldly possessions. However, Jesus teaches another definition when it comes to wealth. Through His lessons, I have personally come to a new conclusion of how to be truly rich as I follow Jesus:
- The most valuable things I have are stored in my heart. That is the only treasure that will remain when I die.
- Humble self-assessments lead me to the realization of how truly “God poor” I am. Because when I seek God first, I always find great reward.
- If I care about others and prioritize their needs, I become rich in my relationships.
- When I quietly show tangible forms of generosity, I accumulate great wealth in my soul.
- When I trust God to supply our needs as a family, my children grow rich in faith.
- The less I physically have, the more I see how God constantly provides for me.
- I desire money less when I trust God more.
- Contentment comes from being rooted in God and trusting Him. It does not depend on my current cash flow.
- I can get Grade A produce and tasty breads free of charge at my church. There are enough resources in the world to end poverty for everyone.
- Nothing I own has a deep hold on me; therefore, I am free to share everything I have.
In the movie Fight Club, the character Tyler Durden says this unforgettable line: “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
In the context of the movie, these words are used to legitimize insane behaviour. But what if there is truth to the idea of losing to gain? What do you have to lose? What stuff have you amassed? What things have you worked hard to achieve? Do you ever feel like giving it all up? Or does the thought of losing it all cause you to curl up into a fetal position?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the amount of things you have accumulated over time? Have you noticed how the quantity of storage units is increasing all across our nation? Even garbage dumps! Storage units are a profitable business where people pay money for another place and space in order to store items they may need some day. Interestingly, municipalities are now exporting garbage to further ignore the repercussions of consumerism.
The house I live in today is larger than any house I lived in growing up. Our two-and-a-half bathroom home has more rooms than we actually need. Overall, houses are getting bigger, while families are becoming smaller. Our reality is larger houses with smaller yards, and yet some still wonder where they are going to store all their earthly possessions.
I know a man who had to move into a storage unit when his apartment had a fire. With no place to put all his stuff, he rented the unit but could not afford another apartment. He ended up catching naps at a friend’s house and basically lived out of his storage unit. He kept his clothes there, his important papers, and lots of ragged junk. His home was an 8 x 10 storage unit.
You may think of this living option as rather odd. But as strange as it sounds, he was still living with more opportunity and personal space than many of the world’s citizens today. There are many places where his storage unit would be suitable shelter for an entire family.
As Canadians, the majority of us have access to clean water, food, education and health care—things that much of the world still consider to be a luxury. In Dave Blundell’s book Hungry for Life, he makes the case that world poverty could be adequately addressed for $40 billion annually.
We may not all have $40 billion on hand, but together we can work to reduce global poverty in our world. It’s vital for us as the church in Canada to stay economically focused so that our dollars and labour are directed toward caring for people’s needs.
As Canadians, we are a First World nation and are often numb to the extreme lack experienced by 80 per cent of the world. If we were to lose everything, would we be free to do anything? How free are you right now to obey God’s nudges in your life?
The Apostle Paul spoke to the church of Ephesus about his personal commitment to keep costs down. Instead of depending on churches to meet his physical needs, Paul worked freelance as a producer of fine tents. “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ ” (Acts 20:35, NIV).
What would it look like if the Canadian church experienced a revolution of downsizing its stuff and increased its direct involvement in caring for the weak and the poor—both locally, nationally and around the world?
The purpose of kingdom wealth is to bring God’s deep gladness to the whole earth. We are called to invest everything in God’s plan to restore creation.
We live in the age of hints and contentions that the King is coming. When Christ comes back, every account will be balanced. The oppression of poverty and injustice will be reversed. Mercy will finally triumph over judgment.
Lord, help us to live for that day, but to do what we can right now to bring about change for those in need.
- Dave Blundell, Hungry for Life: A Vision of the Church that Would Transform the World (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2010).
Kevin Rogers is the Mission Canada urban ministries co-ordinator and pastor of New Song Church in Windsor, Ont.
This article appeared in the September/October issue of testimony, a bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ©2016 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. This content is provided as a free sample of testimony. Subscribe for full access to the complete magazine.